Cheney stays unbeaten with tough road win


By Travis Mounts

The match up between the Cheney and Holcomb football teams – both undefeated before last Friday’s game – was everything it was billed to be, with the visiting Cardinals edging the host Longhorns 31-28 in Holcomb.
The victory was doubly important for the Cardinals. First, it puts them in the driver’s seat for the Class 3A District 8 championship. Cheney and Holcomb are the top two teams in the district, and the only two teams with winning records in the district or overall.
“There was a lot of good football,” said Cheney head coach Shelby Wehrman. “I was impressed with the level football both teams played.”
Cheney also is in very good position to complete its first-ever undefeated regular season. The Cardinals have games remaining against Nickerson and Larned, who have a combined record of 1-9.
Back-to-back scores in the third and fourth quarters gave the Cardinals a 14-point lead early in the fourth, the largest lead for either team.
With the teams tied at 14, Cheney scored on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Harrison Voth to Luke Grace. It was Voth’s third touchdown pass of the the game, as he found three different receivers in the in game.
The Cardinals went up 28-14 in the fourth quarter on a 48-yard touchdown run by Quincy Thomas. It was the start to an exciting quarter, with the teams combining for 24 points.
The Longhorns showed they would not be easily corralled, coming back for a 30-yard touchdown exactly two minutes later to trim the Cardinals’ lead to 28-21.
Cheney then put together a four-minute drive resulting in a 24-yard field goal and a 31-21 lead, and put Holcomb in a bad spot against the clock. Those three points were needed, as the Longhorns were able to score again, converting a 9-yard pass for a touchdown with 1:36 to play.
After a scoreless first quarter, Holcomb struck first just seconds into the second quarter. Cheney tied the game at 7 when Voth connected with Bartlett on a 69-yard scoring pass with just 20 seconds left before halftime.
Cheney’s first lead came in the third quarter and culminated with Dayton Higgs catching an 18-yard touchdown pass from Voth. It took just 94 seconds for Holcomb to show its big-play-capability, scoring on a 74-yard pass that tied the game at 14.
“We continue to gel on offense. They stuck our run for most of the first half. We passed more and that helped open the running game,” Wehrman said.
Lineman Peyton Hays has impressed his coach.
“He’s been good for us (on offense) and had a super game at nose tackle” on Friday, Wehrman said. “Harrison continues to mature and let the game unfold in front of him. Our receivers are getting better at finding open routes.”
The defensive line may have played the biggest role at Holcomb.
“They’re the reason we won that game. They controlled the running game,” Wehrman said. Brody Hillman and Davontae Black had strong games.
The Cardinals put up 393 yards of total offense, passing for 263 and running for 130 more.
Voth was Cheney’s main running threat, going for 64 yards on 12 carries. Thomas added 62 yards, most of them on that long touchdown run.
Cheney’s passing game continues to flummox opponents. Voth completed 12 of 20 attempts. Bartlett led the receivers with 129 yards on five catches, for an average of almost 26 yards per catch. Grace had 70 yards and four receptions, and Higgs picked up 48 yards on two catches.
The Cardinals hit the road again this Friday, but it will be a much shorter trip to take on the Nickerson Panthers. Nickerson is still looking for its first win. They are 0-5 and saw their Oct. 2 game cancelled.